Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The volume of the book

Today we are eavesdropping on some conversation between other people.

Think that's good?

Is it even allowed?

In the Bible?

Well, it's in the Bible!

Who's talking?

It might be good for us to gain a little perspective on our own small egocentric worlds thinking everything and anything is about us.

We are reading from the book of Hebrews. And this might surprise you, but the book of Hebrews was actually not written for you and me. It was written to a specific group of people ...

Can you guess?

It is stated in the heading

It was directed to Hebrew people.

It was written to them in a time when they were most severely persecuted and many of them were thinking of falling back to their DIY ways before the New Testament ... the ways of the law.

Falling back doesn't help any one

So, the writer of Hebrews (possibly Paul) wrote a letter to encourage them to stand strong in The Way

The Roman emperor, Nero after setting Rome on fire in AD 60, accused Christians as evil-doers. Note - He was accusing not so much the followers of the Jewish law because he knew what to expect of them. Yet, followers of the newly founded Way in perfect freedom was all together an uncertainty to him. These people were not set in a law of some kind and they feared nothing because their Messiah rose from death and they believed that they themselves will follow suit.

Finding a common enemy

These Christians offended the Romans!

Giving honor to a dead crucified Jewish violated a host of the most serious taboos of both Greek and Roman religion. Honoring such a person and then claiming that His Spirit was living inside of every one of His followers made every Christian accuse-able of disrespecting and insulting  the Greek and Roman gods as such. This kind of behaviour made their good-luck gods to abandon their sanctuaries in disgust. 

Nero rounded the Christians up, fed them to his hungry beasts in the arena, burned them alive and mutilated their bodies.

The Hebrew Christians, especially those in Rome, needed some serious encouragement.

A letter to the Hebrew Christians was crucial

The letter to the Hebrews comes with a full executive summary of the whole of God's redemption plan and beautiful perspective on how the first covenant was replace with perfect new Testament in favour of all mankind, including messianic Jews who lived in and around the city of Rome at the time.

A summary of the whole book of Hebrews is to be found in Hebrews 10.

Today we can learn a lot from the letter to these people who were do severely persecuted just because they were Jesus-followers. And that is the reason for our eavesdropping.

The writer of the book of Hebrews had to remind the believers again that  Jesus was the complete fulfillment of the law, the prophecies, the sacrifices, the feast, the feast days and everything that pointed towards God redeeming mankind in order to establish a relationship with him.

Let's read in the Amplified Bible

Hence, when He [Christ] entered into the world, He said, Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me [to offer];

In burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no delight.

Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God — [to fulfill] what is written of Me in the volume of the Book. 

When He said just before, You have neither desired, nor have You taken delight in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings — all of which are offered according to the Law —

He then went on to say, Behold, [here] I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order [as a means of expiating sin] so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order.

And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). Hebrews 10:5 - 10 [AMP]

The writer of Hebrews was quoting Psalm 40, as shadow of the whole thing.

Bringing it all together

The letter to the Hebrews explains really well how that the Christians back then (and us right now) should not fall back into the law (and us today by mixing up law and Grace).

Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus, by this new and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the veil [as in the Holy of Holies], that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great and wonderful Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:19 - 22 [AMP]

Unqualified assurance of Faith

The King James Bible talks about "full assurance of faith".

Remember the post on Surety (click here) and how we discovered that Jesus is our faith (click here, and here). Jesus is the substance of our faith. He is our Faith!

We don't have to go back to an old and outdated agreement that was not even with us and to try and do the prescripts of that agreement in an effort to gain assurance.
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